Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Official Reports of the Battle of Shiloh: No. 9 – Lieut. Col. William Hall, 11th Iowa Infantry

No. 9.

Report of Lieut. Col. William Hall, Eleventh Iowa Infantry.

April 9, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report the part taken by the Eleventh Regiment Iowa Volunteers in the action of the 6th and 7th instant as follows:

At between 7 and 8 a.m. on the 6th instant I received orders from you to form my regiment, consisting of an aggregate of 750 officers and men, and march them in close column about 200 yards to the front and there await orders, which I did. In about half an hour I received orders from you to march about one-fourth of a mile to the left and there form as a reserve. On arriving at the place indicated I immediately deployed in line of battle. In a very few moments I received orders from Major-General McClernand to advance to the front, which I did at a double-quick for a distance of over a quarter of a mile, my right resting on a pond and supporting Dresser's battery, my left resting along a road and on another battery. I had scarcely got into position before the enemy appeared in force, and I opened fire immediately, throwing them into confusion. They soon reformed and opened on me a very destructive fire of musketry and artillery, which I sustained for nearly two hours, during which time my loss in killed and wounded was very severe. Major Abercrombie, who commanded the right wing and who rendered me the most gallant and efficient aid, here received a severe wound in the head, which necessitated his retiring from the field, remaining, however, during the time above mentioned. My horse was here shot under me, and I received while on foot a slight wound in my left ankle. A large force of the enemy appearing on my right and apparently endeavoring to turn it, I received orders to retire, which I did, forming about 100 yards from the left of the regimental parade ground with Companies A, B, C, E, G, H, and K, the left wing and Company C retiring in good order. Companies D, F, and I, while retiring, were exposed to a most galling fire of artillery and musketry, which swept the open space through which they had to go, and were thrown into confusion and did not form. I immediately received orders from Major-General McClernand to take my position about 50 yards in advance, where I remained under cover for a short time until the enemy approached quite close, when I fired and advanced at double-quick, driving them before me and capturing a standard from the enemy.

When about 50 yards in the rear of my position, when supporting Dresser's battery, in the morning, I received report from the commanders of companies that the men were out of ammunition, which fact I immediately reported to Major-General McClernand in person, and held my position until I was re-enforced, when I received orders from General McClernand to retire and procure ammunition. Before I issued the order to retire the troops ordered to occupy my ground broke in confusion, throwing my men into temporary disorder, but they rallied and formed at my camp, where I learned that my ammunition had been taken to the river half an hour before, and I could not learn, after repeated inquiries, where I could procure any, and the fire becoming very hot, I retired until I received ammunition, and was joined by part of Companies D, F, and I. While issuing ammunition I received orders from Major-General Grant to advance immediately, and ordering Companies B and C, who were armed with rifles and were then unable to procure cartridges of a suitable caliber, to remain until they procured them and rejoin the regiment, I immediately moved forward, taking the first road to the left, until I found a line, and formed on its right, opening fire on the enemy, where I remained until ordered to retire and form on the left of a battery of heavy guns placed behind corn sacks. I held that position until I received orders from General Grant to advance and deploy skirmishers and feel of the enemy. I advanced some hundred yards or more, deploying Company A, Captain Grant, with instructions to find the enemy, and remained until the batteries in my rear opened fire, when I returned to the rear of the batteries, and remained until ordered to advance and support a battery placed on the left of the heavy guns before mentioned. Here I detailed 12 men from Company G and ordered them to take charge of two 12-pounder howitzers which I found without officers or men, and which they used with good effect. I remained in this position until the enemy were repulsed and during the night.

On the morning of the 7th I received orders from General Grant to move out on the main road leading from the river and to take the first road leading to the left, and to advance until I found the line. After marching about a mile and a half I found a heavy gun which was playing upon the enemy. I immediately formed on its left in support and remained until ordered to move to the right and front, where I formed in line of battle, when I received orders from General Hurlbut to advance and deploy skirmishers to the left and front. I immediately advanced, deploying Company B to the left and Company A to the front. The firing after some time becoming more remote, I recalled my skirmishers and remained in line of battle until ordered to return to my camp.

With but few individual exceptions all my officers and men conducted themselves with the greatest gallantry. I make special mention of Capt. John C. Marven, of Company K, who rose from a sick bed, not having been able to do duty for ninety days.

Respectfully submitted.

 Lieutenant-Colonel Eleventh Regt. Iowa Volunteers, Comdg.

 Lieut. C. CADLE, Jr.,
A. A. A. G., First Brig., First Div., Army of the Tennessee.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume X (Serial No. 10), Part I, pages 130-1

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